Creating inclusive societies in The Hague

Diversity is a reality. Inclusion is a choice.

The ongoing migration crisis in Europe has encouraged conversations on building inclusive societies in many countries like the Netherlands. To gain a better understanding of inclusion and its meaning, the Embassy of Canada to Netherlands partnered with the Institute of Canadian Citizenship and the City of The Hague to host the 6 Degrees conference.

6 Degrees is a new Canadian global forum exploring inclusion and the meaning of citizenship in the 21st century. This innovative model aims to bring together thinkers, doers, artists, politicians, and civil society leaders to ask pertinent questions and find useful answers about one of the essential challenges of our time - developing truly inclusive societies.

Over 250 participants came together for a lively debate and exchange on citizenship and inclusion with a view to creating practical approaches to address common challenges. This was the first 6 Degrees conference held outside Canada.

Participants from Canada and Europe included Rabin Baldewsingh (Deputy Mayor of The Hague), Sunny Bergman (documentary filmmaker, writer and actress) and Jennifer Welsh (European University Institute).

Innovative Solutions

Emilie Nicolas (Co-founder and President, Québec inclusif), Rabin Baldewsingh (Deputy Mayor of The Hague), The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Sunny Bergman (Filmmaker , writer and actress), Niigaan Sinclair (Professor and international commentator on Indigenous issues)

The forum’s goal was to exchange views on Canada’s and the Netherlands’ experience with respect to immigration, diversity and inclusion and to find areas of cooperation.

During the forum guests participated in a variety of sessions which focused on the effects of populism on inclusion, the role activists and cultural industries can play, and on the economics of inclusion – how immigration is a benefit to society and how prosperity and innovation are fueled, rather than undermined, by diversity.

“Diversity is about breaking down power structures.”

– Sunny Bergman, Filmmaker and Actress

The Canadian model and experience figured prominently in the day’s discussions and formed the basis for dialogue on practical approaches to building more diverse and inclusive societies.

Exchanging Ideas

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul address the attendees.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship is a national charity co-founded by The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, the 26th Governor General of Canada, and John Ralston Saul that delivers programs and special projects across Canada that inspire inclusion, create opportunities to connect, and encourage active citizenship. As part of their work, 6 Degrees was created.

“Inclusion is about expanding the circle, not arguing over pieces of the pie.”

– The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada

The 6 Degrees forum resulted in an open discussion on the opportunities and challenges for inclusive societies in both Canada and Europe.

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